There are lots of things – nuclear war, human trafficking, child abuse, cancer- I get that I’m not the center of the world. I get that I live in America. I get that I have freedoms that I take for granted that many in this world don’t have. Ok now that all that’s out of the way- and I’ve made it perfectly clear that with all these poor me blog posts I know that there are so many people out there that have it way worse than me…I will only put this disclosure here once letting you all know that I know I know I’m not the worst off in the world etc. So now let me continue on for the meaning for this post…
What’s worse than major depressive disorder? When your husband is depressed too. Over the past 22 years there are a lot of things I could say my husband is/was. But depressed was never ever one of them. He was the most positive optimistic person I have ever known. He’s been a hockey player, a lacrosse player, a skier, a runner, a salesman, a student, a warehouse manager, an ice rink manager, a lover, a husband, a father, a mechanic, a tinker, a martial artist, the list could go on forever.
But 3 years ago our life changed in inexplicable ways. It started with jaw pain in October 2013. He saw the dr and she suggested maybe Lyme disease, or cat scratch fever. She ran some tests and couldn’t come up with anything definitive and being a man he powered through. In January he started feeling sick and called into work. He never called into work so I knew it was bad. He felt fluish- achy just all around crappy. He went back to work still feeling crappy and kept feeling worse and worse. He would work a full day and come home and pretty much pass out. This went on for months . He kept going back to the doctors, he had swollen lymph nodes that they were concerned could be cancer and was scheduled for a biopsy. When they went to do the biopsy they realized he had an artery that passed right by the node and would require a more extensive surgery called an arterial resection. They felt the risks weren’t worth the benefits since they were pretty sure it wasn’t cancer.
He had taken some time off from work and applied for short term disability he got 2 weeks pay and then was denied because they cancelled the surgery. But his doctor had written him out of work for the next 3 months minimum. Due to his extreme symptoms that made it unsafe for him and those he worked with for him to work.
Unfortunately the problem with a small company is they can’t afford to lose an employee for long and he was laid off. We were concerned, but at that point his health and figuring out what was wrong with him was a bigger priority. So I swallowed my pride went and got state help and my husband slept. For months. And went to the doctor. Lots of doctors. Rheumatologists, ear, nose and throat doctors, internests, neurologists, and I’m sure there were more ologists I’m just forgetting. They ran bloodwork, blood cultures, more blood tests, MRIs, cat scans and no clear answers as to why he felt the way he did. He ended up with a diagnosis of fibromyalgia and life went on. He felt terrible, he couldn’t do the things he loved, he could barely get thru the day. They prescribed pills with horrific side effects that didn’t help him at all and some that did more harm than good.
During this three year period, we lost our home to foreclosure, and our car to repossession. Through it all, he stayed positive, sure he had his days where he was sad, bitter or angry but he quickly was able to turn it around and move on. Me not so much….
But we knew we were on borrowed time with the state. So he did some research and decided to try to make a go of opening up his own shop. He wouldn’t be on the clock of a service manager, and dealership owner. He could pick and choose his jobs and as he got better he would be able to work more and more and this would bring us financial peace and security.
The first year in business he posted $90 profit. But a profit nonetheless. The shop was getting busier and he was getting more and more worn out. Year 2 (2016) brought a more modest profit, and the shop saw a boom in business. He had built up a great reputation and he started being able to provide more services. He worked hard to keep up with the business but he was falling behind, he was struggling to keep up and when he got home he would pretty much pass out again. He had nothing left when he got home.
Sometime between August and October he hurt his back, badly. He was stubborn about going to the doctor because it had gotten him no answers up to this point. So he kept working. In excruciating pain he worked. By November he would come home and lay flat on the floor. For three days over thanksgiving he didn’t move off the floor. So now on top of joint pain he was dealing with debilitating back pain.
In February I finally convinced him to go to the ER and they treated him like a drug seeker and sent him home. He saw his PCP and he ordered an MRI, the MRI showed an extremely large herniation of his L5S1 vertebrae. And he referred him to an Ortho who put him on nerve meds that did nothing. He saw his PCP again who told him no more of that med and tried Lyrica because at this point he’s willing to accept fibromyalgia as a diagnosis along with the back issue. So the PCP referred him to another surgeon and this guy wants him to just take it easy for 8-12 months and get PT. He will see his PCP again on Tues and we are hoping he will refer him to a different surgeon. We are now looking into permanent disability and a complete change in our lifestyle.
All this back story to get to what I really wanted to say- what’s worse than major depressive disorder is sharing depression with your spouse. He has stayed so positive through all of this but now he’s starting to get depressed. He told me tonight that last night he searched the Internet for pictures of 10 things he’ll never have now. He showed it to me and it broke my heart into a million pieces. I know how much he’s hurting physically and that’s killing me. But he’s hurting emotionally now, and that makes it even harder. My once optimistic, happy-go-lucky husband is realizing that his dreams are dying one by one. His plans are changing, his future is uncertain, and our financial future looks bleak. So now, we both are depressed, and feeling like our entire future is up in the air. And to see the same pain in his eyes that I see in mine is more than heartbreaking.